By KEVIN P. CRAVER -
CRYSTAL LAKE – The Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 board and classroom support staff have agreed to a three-year contract extension.
Both the district board and the Crystal Lake Association of Support Staff ratified an extension to take the union’s existing contract, which was set to expire in 2018, through the 2021 school year.
In addition to a 3.75 percent pay increase each year of the contract, the extension modifies the policy toward leaves and absence and introduces language to address potential health insurance eligibility if the Affordable Care Act is repealed and no other alternative is available.
The union now represents 243 support staff – known as “paraprofessionals” in the contract – who are licensed by the state to give classroom assistance to students with special needs.
Staff members also offer assistance to general education students and students who are learning to speak English.
The agreement was reached after several conversations between union representatives and district administration, according to a joint statement.
It was made official last week on a 7-0 vote by the school board.
District 47 includes nine elementary schools and three middle schools with an enrollment of about 7,600 students, most of them from Crystal Lake and Lakewood.